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Pirates defeat Indians 9-4 for 11th consecutive win

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The Pirates stayed red-hot on Tuesday, taking down the Indians 9-4 to earn their 11th consecutive victory. Joe Musgrove got the start, limiting the Tribe to two runs over seven innings. Steven Bault and Edgar Santana each gave up a run in an inning of relief after Musgrove exited, but it didn’t prove to be an impediment.

On the offensive side of things, Starling Marte opened up the scoring in the first with a two-run homer. The Pirates tacked on five more runs in the second inning thanks to a two-run triple by Corey Dickerson, an RBI single from Marte, and a two-run homer from Gregory Polanco. Josh Bell added a two-run homer in the fifth to run the Pirates’ run total to nine.

It wasn’t all good news for the Buccos, however, as Dickerson had to exit the game before the bottom of the fourth with left hamstring discomfort. He apparently aggravated something running to first base on a ground out to start the top half of the fourth. Dickerson has been among the Pirates’ best players this season, batting .318/.351/.517 with 11 home runs, 44 RBI, and 50 runs scored in 367 plate appearances. Dickerson will undergo more testing and more should be known about his condition on Wednesday.

The Pirates have one more game against the Indians before heading home for a nine-game homestand with the Mets, Cubs, and Cardinals. They’re very much in the thick of things despite being in third place, as they currently trail the Cubs by 6.5 games, and they’re 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card slot in the National League.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.